In the light of its concern that not all of the £8m Arron Banks gave to the unofficial Leave.EU campaign came from profits generated in the UK, the Electoral Commission has referred him to the National Crime Agency. This will only provoke hollow laughter from communists.
The Electoral Commission may have dragged their feet over this matter, but they invariably do this when the government itself is threatened. Amongst other examples is their protracted investigations into dodgy election expense returns by Tory candidates who now help prop up May’s wafer thin parliamentary majority. The work at the Electoral Commission is done by civil servants and, however independent they might consider themselves, they are, just like the legal system, part of the machine, share its outlook and priorities and are led by individuals drawn from its elite.
The central issue is not the feebleness of the Electoral Commission, it is the very nature of parliamentary democracy and its tainted offshoot, national referendums. Universal suffrage was originally feared by the capitalist class, but these fears were gradually allayed and, by the time it was finally attained in 1928, the system had learnt how to cope with the threat it posed to capitalism.
- MPs were no longer to be mere delegates from their local parties – they were independent persons, responsible to the entire electorate, not those who selected them.
- The mass media was owned by capital and public broadcasting was under the thumb of the government.
- There was lots of lovely, unaccountable money sloshing about to lobby and buy influence.
Nothing has changed!
What is the solution? Not another auction/referendum on EU membership with Big Business buying the result it prefers. A general election would be by far the best remedy for the deficiencies in the last referendum; but, while we wish Corbyn well and are most impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of his supporters, they should not be misled into thinking that there is a parliamentary road to socialism. Freeing ourselves from the pseudo-democracy offered by the European Parliament and from the restrictions imposed on labour rights and nationalisation by the European Commission would be a step in the right direction, but what is really needed is
- Root and branch democratic reform (or, more accurately, revolution) in which money, lobbying and a distorted media no longer plays a part and democracy extends into every aspect of our lives, including the workplace.
- Recognition that the purpose of an MP or councillor is to represent, until recalled, those who selected him or her. It is not a career.